Ted Cruz campaigned in all 99 Iowa counties before the caucuses. It’s called doing the “Full Grassley,” because U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa did it every year. But New Hampshire—with a mere 10 counties to call its own—hasn’t to date offered a symbolic achievement for ambitious candidates with extra gas money. Until now.
To fix this critical oversight in American politics, we came up with the “Full Granite”—just like the Full Grassley, except it has to be done in one day. (For the record, Heidi Cruz says it’s possible … her husband, not so much).
How to Execute the Full Granite
- Start in Hillsborough County. That’s easy because if you’re in New Hampshire you’re probably there now, most likely in Manchester, and most likely at the Radisson.
- Drive north to Concord, in Merrimack County. It’ll take about 20 minutes. Concord is important because it’s the state capital, and can lay claim to the world’s biggest meatball (222 pounds).
- Go another half hour to Northwood in Rockingham County, which apparently was too long of a drive for Ben Carson to make in the week leading up to the primary—he was the only candidate not to go there.
- From Rockingham, you can swing by the coast and hit up Dover, 26 minutes away, in the county of Strafford. It's the smallest county, geographically, in New Hampshire, which makes it easy to pass through to get to ...
- ... Belknap County, which is unusually high above sea level, according to interestingfactsaboutnewhampshire.net, and is also right below ...
- ...Carroll County, which is really pretty, and that makes it kind of strange that not a single candidate seems to have campaigned in Carroll in the time between Iowa and New Hampshire.
- Next up is Coos County, the northernmost. This is the biggest county in New Hampshire, geographically, but has the smallest population—about 33,000 people; all of them could fit in Fenway Park and you’d still have bleacher seats available. Coos is the only county that Mitt Romney lost in the 2012 primary. (Ron Paul won.) In the past week, no candidates have paid any attention to it, although before the Iowa caucuses, Ohio Governor John Kasich did visit the famously small town of Dixville Notch. (By the way: It’s not pronounced like “cous-cous,” but more like “coh-us.”)
- Time to head back south. It's an hour to Plymouth, which is in Grafton County. In 2006, Progressive Farmer magazine rated Grafton County the fourth-best place to live in rural America. In case you’re looking.
- Another hour south is Sullivan County, named for General John Sullivan, a Revolutionary War hero who was elected “president” of New Hampshire in 1786.
- And one final hour toward Massachusetts is Keene, in the county of Cheshire, which is not pronounced like the cat but more like where a Hobbit lives. The historical society there has a decent deal on beginner beekeeping courses.
That’s 10 counties in at just under seven hours. Then again, that’s not including any obstructions caused by abrupt snowfall. If that happens, just make like Kasich: pull over and have some fun.